Energy is the lifeblood of most businesses, especially for restaurants and retailers. It does more than just power the lights; energy makes equipment run and keeps employees and customers feeling comfortable. But with consumption comes waste, and a lot of it.
Researchers at MIT estimate that commercial buildings account for 20% of all the energy used in the U.S. and determine 30% of that energy is wasted. So implementing a proactive strategy for saving energy and becoming more sustainable is good for business and the environment.
In the United States, small businesses alone spend more than $60 billion on energy every year. With some changes, restaurants and retailers have a huge opportunity to reduce energy waste and lower costs. Here are six ways businesses squander energy and best practices for stemming the waste.
Powering up all equipment at the same time
It makes sense—when doors open for business, everything is turned on and ready to go. However, powering up HVAC units, lights, and equipment all at the same time every day gets expensive. This small action drives up the peak load for the day and, in turn, increases costs.
Best practice: Implement a staggered schedule when powering up equipment.
Not controlling or monitoring equipment remotely
The ability to control and monitor equipment remotely is a game-changer for facility managers. With remote monitoring and control of HVAC, lighting, signage, and other equipment, it’s possible to know what is on and when, plus what it’s costing.
Best practice: Use a solution like Open Kitchen or SiteSage to control and monitor equipment, which will help identify problems, lower energy and maintenance costs, and help avoid catastrophic failure.
Ignoring the importance of automated scheduling
Many restaurants and retailers make the mistake of leaving on lights, thermostats, and other high-energy consuming equipment when an establishment is closed or transitions to different seasonal hours. Access to crucial data can stop energy-wasting behaviors.
Best practice: Use connected equipment for automated scheduling and reporting to reduce energy waste and increase revenue.
Neglecting preventive maintenance
Repairs are costly, but unexpected downtime is costlier. While scheduled maintenance is smart, it’s not designed to catch failure before it happens. Instead, proactively monitoring equipment helps eliminate the unnecessary stress of unplanned downtime.
Best practice: Leverage text and email message alerts to your staff when there are equipment issues so you can make proactive repairs and identify catastrophic failures before they happen.
Avoiding equipment replacement when the time is right
Sometimes repairs don’t cut it when it comes to critical equipment, but how do you know when replacement is the right answer? Transitioning to a just-in-time equipment replacement strategy is key. It involves gathering and analyzing data then coming up with a plan.
Best practice: Follow these steps to transition to a just-in-time equipment replacement strategy: (1) gather data, (2) analyze data, (3) identify all equipment beyond its useful life that could fail any day, (4) develop the systems and support to begin a planned equipment replacement strategy using total cost of ownership, and (5) replace the oldest, least-efficient equipment first.
Forgetting to benchmark energy usage
When a business has multiple locations, inevitably, some will do a better job than others at managing energy use and equipment. This is why it’s important to benchmark energy usage and identify what is and isn’t working.
Best practice: Use a solution like Open Kitchen or SiteSage to benchmark energy consumption and performance of individual pieces of equipment across your business, then identify and share best practices with every location.
Need help implementing these best practices? Chat with one of our experts to discover how a connected facility can help your business stem energy costs and become more sustainable.